Archive for August, 2009

August ’09 Pic(s)/Quote of the Month

Monday, August 31st, 2009

August 2009

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” – Jimi Hendrix

The Colosseum in Rome

Fantasy Football Tiers

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Yet to Draft? Take a look at the exclusive fantasy football tiers list. I know a lot of leagues drafted this weekend, but I couldn’t post these until now or else my friends would always know who I was going to take! These tiers are geared toward non-PPR leagues, so adjust accordingly if receptions earn you extra points. They are meant to balance all circumstances, however. Brandon Marshall, for example, is a Tier 2 or 3 player with a Tier 17 maturity level, so this list takes the risk of him missing the season for some reason into consideration. Regardless, this list should serve as an interesting time capsule to review for accuracy after the season. Enjoy.


Tier One: Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady
Tier Two: Kurt Warner, Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, Matt Schaub, Philip Rivers
Tier Three: Donovan McNabb, Jay Cutler, Carson Palmer
Tier Four: David Garrard, Matt Ryan, Trent Edwards, Matt Hasselbeck, Matt Cassel
Tier Five: Brett Favre, Jason Campbell, Ben Roethlisberger, Kyle Orton, Eli Manning, Shaun Hill, Jake Delhomme, Kerry Collins, Joe Flacco, Byron Leftwich
Tier Six: Mark Sanchez, Chad Pennington, Matthew Stafford, Brady Quinn, Marc Bulger, JaMarcus Russell


Tier One: Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Matt Forte
Tier Two: LaDainian Tomlinson, Michael Turner, DeAngelo Williams, Steve Slaton, Brian Westbrook, Marion Barber, Frank Gore, Ronnie Brown, Brandon Jacobs, Steven Jackson
Tier Three: Pierre Thomas, Chris Johnson, Clinton Portis, Ryan Grant, Darren McFadden, Kevin Smith
Tier Four: Marshawn Lynch, Cedric Benson, Ray Rice, Willie Parker, Larry Johnson
Tier Five: Reggie Bush, LenDale White, Beanie Wells, Johnathan Stewart, Jamal Lewis, Felix Jones, Knowshon Moreno, Joseph Addai, Thomas Jones, Julius Jones, Derrick Ward
Tier Six: Darren Sproles, Leon Washington, Fred Jackson, Donald Brown, LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles, Edgerrin James
Tier Seven: Earnest Graham/Cadillac Williams, Ladell Betts, Chester Taylor, Le’Ron McClain, Rashard Mendenhall, Laurence Maroney/Fred Taylor/Sammy Morris, James Davis, Michael Bush, Tim Hightower, Jerious Norwood, Glen Coffee, Tashard Choice, Shonn Greene, Ricky Williams, Willis McGahee


Tier One: Randy Moss, Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson
Tier Two: Reggie Wayne, Anquan Boldin, Marques Colston, Steve Smith (CAR), Greg Jennings, Roddy White
Tier Three: Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, Vincent Jackson, Dwayne Bowe, Wes Welker, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Roy E. Williams
Tier Four: Lee Evans, DeSean Jackson, Eddie Royal, Antonio Bryant, Santana Moss, Bernard Berrian, Brandon Marshall, Braylon Edwards, Chris Henry (CIN), Santonio Holmes, Jerricho Cotchery, Donnie Avery
Tier Five: Hines Ward, Donald Driver, Anthony Gonzalez, Torry Holt, Derrick Mason, Kevin Walter, Lance Moore, Steve Breaston, Chaz Schilens, Laveranues Coles
Tier Six: Josh Morgan, Earl Bennett/Devin Hester, Ted Ginn, Jr., Hakeem Nicks, Percy Harvin, Patrick Crayton, Steve Smith (NYG), Justin Gage/Kenny Britt/Nate Washington, Muhsin Muhammad, Domenik Hixon, Robert Meachem


Tier One: Jason Witten, Antonio Gates, Dallas Clark
Tier Two: Tony Gonzalez, Owen Daniels, Greg Olsen
Tier Three: Jeremy Shockey, Kellen Winslow, Chris Cooley, Visanthe Shiancoe, Dustin Keller, Vernon Davis
Tier Four: John Carlson, Anthony Fasano, Tony Scheffler, Kevin Boss, Martellus Bennett, Zach Miller
Tier Five: Heath Miller, Bo Scaife, Brandon Pettigrew

In case anybody out there cares, I mentioned my fantasy drafts took place this weekend. Here are my draft-day rosters heading into the season:

– 10-team $30 buy-in league:
Start: 2 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB/WR, 1 WR/TE, 1 K, 1 DEF, 1 DL, 1 LB, 1 DB

QB: Kurt Warner, Matt Schaub, Byron Leftwich
RB: Adrian Peterson, Frank Gore, Ray Rice, Julius Jones, Laurence Maroney
WR: Calvin Johnson, Vincent Jackson, Bernard Berrian, Chris Henry, Torry Holt, Josh Morgan, Robert Meachem
TE: Antonio Gates, Kellen Winslow
K: Ryan Longwell (Minnesota)
DL: Mario Williams
LB: Patrick Willis
DB: Oshiomogho Atogwe

– 10-team $20 buy-in league (bonus points for each completion, reception, and rushing attempt):
Start: 2 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB/WR, 1 WR/TE, 1 K, 1 DEF

QB: Drew Brees, Trent Edwards, Brett Favre
RB: Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson, Cedric Benson, Knowshon Moreno, LenDale White, Ladell Betts, James Davis
WR: Reggie Wayne, Terrell Owens, Dwayne Bowe, Chris Henry, Torry Holt
TE: Martellus Bennett
K: Nick Folk (Dallas)

And finally, for what it’s worth, the three players I didn’t get in either league that I find myself coming out of draft weekend really wishing I had? Anquan Boldin, Kevin Smith, and Vernon Davis.

Tourists Game

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Last night I took in my first minor league baseball game and it provided an enjoyable contrast to a Major League Baseball contest.

In a match-up of vicious team mascots, the Asheville Tourists welcomed the visiting Greensboro Grasshoppers.  There were plenty of lead changes to keep the action fresh: Asheville got on the board first, Greensboro put up a six-run 3rd inning to make it 6-1, next Asheville charged back to take a 8-7 lead, and finally in the top of the ninth Greensboro scratched one more run across against the Tourists’ closer before their final man was sent down swinging with the score standing at 11-9 in favor of the home team.

As for the quality of play, there were three or four mammoth home runs and there were multiple pitchers throwing in the mid-90s according to the guns.  Baseball really is a game of inches, though, and I suppose putting a 94-mph fastball down the middle of the plate may be why some of those balls traveled to another stratosphere and the pitchers who threw them are still playing in single-A.  Two Colorado Rockies’ (Asheville is one of their affiliates) scouts sat across the aisle from me during the second half of the game and made notes after every pitch.

There was plenty of history to soak in at McCormick Field as well.  Willie Stargell and Eddie Murray both played for the Tourists, and legend has it the layout of the ballpark is what first inspired Murray to transform himself into a switch-hitter.  Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, and Jackie Robinson have all played as visitors (although some of the games may have been of the barnstorming/exhibition variety) at this ballpark, and in 1972 Cal Ripken, Jr. was a batboy while his father (the elder Cal) was manager of the team.  Sparky Anderson also managed the team to a 1968 championship before landing a gig in the bigs.  Current major leaguers who cut their teeth as Tourists include Todd Helton and current Texas Ranger Jason Jennings.  Even Bull Durham showcases the team as the club Crash Davis joins to finish his career and break the minor-league home run record.

Enough with the glitter.  The estimated attendance was 2,596.  We got to the box office five minutes before the first pitch and scored sixth row seats behind home plate for $10 each.    They didn’t even stop selling beer after the seventh inning like many of the wussy Major League teams do now.  The atmosphere was much more like a high school game than anything I’ve ever experienced at big league digs.  Well, except for the fact that there was a billboard for the premier local head shop above the seats behind third base.  All in all, though, it was a great time and I would go again.  As I said, tix were only $10 a piece for the best seats in the house.  It is possible to spend $40 a pop, but that comes with the experience of taking BP with the team before the game.  Unfortunately, we arrived too late to partake, and besides, I wouldn’t want to embarrass my parents’ new hometown team.

Best of all, I got to see recent South Atlantic League Hall of Fame inductee and current Tourists’ manager Joe Mikulik up close and personal.  He even charged out of the dugout to argue a call for us.  Alas it didn’t come close to his most famous tirade.  Nor could it compete with my favorite minor league managerial explosion of all time.  But for $10 it was more than satisfactory.

Twitter Transmitter

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Yo! Twat up tweeps? ChillGrill is taking it to the twitosphere. Follow us at At the very least, we plan on using this as a vehicle to alert our followers every time a new entry is posted on the blog. Who knows what else it could become if it is indeed twitterrific. If, however, after trying it for awhile we decide it’s not all that sweet to tweet, then we reserve the right to fall off at any time. And if you think that makes us a twitter quitter, then, as J.R. Smith will tell you, we just “don’t kare.”

iLove iPhone

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Filthy crunk. That is how I describe the iPhone.

The time had come to take on the added responsibility of paying a monthly telephone bill. I had been living without such a burden for a couple of months since returning to the States, but along with this benefit came the nagging annoyance of having to borrow a phone every time I wanted to make a call.

The previous time I had been stateside for a few months I had hooked up with MetroPCS. Their $30/month “Unlimited” plan really reeled me in. But once I started setting up my account with the guy in the store, the asterisks made their presence known. “$30 only covers local calling. It’s $35 a month if you want to be able to call outside of Dallas.” “Oh, you want our advanced “text messaging” feature? That’s an $5 extra per month.” “Voicemail? No, that’s not included. You’ll have to step up to our $45/month a plan.” Then my first bill comes and boom – $59 with taxes and other nonsense. I’ll give them credit: at check out my phone itself only ran me $5 and the coverage (which some of my friends told me beforehand they had “heard” was terrible) was pretty good. But if I was gonna be paying that much each month, this time I wanted to go see just how much more what I really wanted would actually cost.

Apple’s newest model of iPhone, the 3GS, costs 50% less than the original iPhone did at its debut two years ago.

It turned out it’s not that bad. My monthly plan is $69.99 for 450 anytime minutes + $5 extra for 200 text messages. Granted I don’t talk on the phone much, and I understand how some people will immediately think that they would need a much more expensive plan, but one must first consider that this comes with rollover, 5000 night/weekend minutes, and unlimited calls with other AT & T customers. So basically, there’s a lot of comping going on here – I would probably downgrade my plan if I could. Add ~$13 of tax/fees on top of this and we’re looking at 88 bucks a month. I can work with that.

What about the other two heads of the dragon (cost of the device and evil stipulations of contract)? You can get an 8GB iPhone 3G for $99. Or you can get a 16GB iPhone 3GS $199. I went all in and scored a 32GB 3GS for $299. But this is because I am addicted to the Internet (not just porn) as well as music and I knew I would get my $100 worth out of the extra space; for many people a 16GB will be more than enough.

Contract. Boy I hate these things. I think the guy in the Apple Store was confused about how I could be so excited about getting an iPhone and at the same time asking so many questions about the details of the early termination fee. Hey, I like to travel. Anyway, I am amazed at how manageable this deal is. I had heard all this talk about “they really rope you in with the contract so you’re stuck owing them for two years.” No you’re not. The fee is $175. Each time you pay your monthly statement, it drops by $5. So if I decide to hop to South America in five months, I’ll give up $150 (less than two monthly bills) and be free as a bird.

To be clear, I am not saying I really think AT & T needs $90 per person to keep their network up and running (if they want my financial advice it would be to stop running so many corny advertisements), but rather that compared to other popular providers like Cingular/T-Mobile/etc. its really not that bad to get an iPhone. And before I move on from the subject of cost, I will say that there is a one-time activation fee of about $40 and the protective cases for this thing are way overpriced. I dropped $15 for a screen film and $35 on a sleek black rubber incase with a front lip. But considering I bought the most expensive model of iPhone and I’m a complete klutz who likes to drink 23 beers in a night, I deemed this a worthwhile expenditure.

Enough with all that. I got it two weeks ago. My life has changed since that day. I don’t even know where to begin, so please excuse the lack of organization in the following drool of praise.

Can you say all-in-one device? It fits in your pocket without the slightest feeling of unwanted bulk. It is a camera (go 3GS and you can also include camcorder), an iPod (for music and video), a GPS, a video game player+controller, an e-mail client, an Operating System for an ever-expanding library of apps, and a fully functional Internet browser. And cool features like the touch screen and accelerometer (I’m not even going to pretend like I fully understand what that is) serve to exponentially increase the potential for developer innovation.

Not only is it all of these things, but each one of them is built superbly. The camera has a one-touch button on screen to send a photo you’ve just snapped to a friend. The iPod automatically syncs with updated podcasts just by plugging it into your computer, and you can listen to them at 2x speed to save time. The GPS is basically Google Maps, except it magically determines your current location for you and you can even scroll to one of your contacts as a destination address. Miss a turn, get lost, or the directions were bad? Just pull over and fire up an updated map from your new coordinates. I’ve already played some video games on here (i.e. Metal Gear Solid Touch) that compete graphically with the PSP, and the versatility of other apps is virtually infinite. In fact, new paragraph, lemme list ten sweet ones:

– Pandora Radio: Just like the Internet site, all you have to do is enter a song or an artist, and voila! Pandora creates a radio station that plays songs similar to what you entered.

– Shazam: Ever ask yourself, “I know that song. Damn it, what is it?” Just open Shazam and hold it in the air. It’ll tell you.

– Voice Memos: Comes preloaded on the iPhone. One click to record a Norm MacDonald-style “Note to Self.”

– WordPress: Have a blog (like this one)? Streamlined interface for efficiently cranking out a new post.

– iHandyLevel: Just put your iPhone on top of that picture frame and adjust accordingly.

– Offender Locator Lite: See pics and addresses of registered sex offenders nearby. Sometimes you can’t help but wonder …

– Postino: Instantly turn any photo you’ve snapped into an e-mail postcard to be sent to a close one. Oh, you prefer a traditional postcard that someone can hold in their hand? Just charge $2 and consider it mailed.

– Urban Spoon: Can’t think of anywhere fresh to eat? Adjust the filters to your desire and spin away. Urban Spoon is a slot machine that costs nothing to play and spills out tasty restaurant locations near you as jackpots.

– Skype/textPlus: Actually two different apps. I think using the Skype for phone calls in lieu of your minutes might take a little hacking, but as it is you can IM chat on Skype or send free SMS texts with textPlus.

– Paper Toss: An awesome office basketball game played with a wad of paper and the trash can. The defense? That electric fan off to the side. I got stuck in nightmare traffic on the highway last night. Before iPhone? Pissed off plove. After iPhone? New high score on medium difficulty setting.

By the way, these are all free apps since I’m a cheap bastard. I’m afraid to see what lurks in the actual marketplace.

Still not convinced? I’ll leave you with this epiphany I had today. I was sitting in a Sonic Drive-In (large Caramel Mocha Java Chiller if you must know), thinking about how the iPhone was like having my laptop (which I also love) in my pocket. I was browsing cars for sale on craigslist and I couldn’t shake the feeling that this device was actually somehow better than my laptop. Obviously there’s the size difference but it was something else. Oh I know! If I was in my car with my laptop, how would I connect to the Internet without WiFi? My phone has unlimited Internet everywhere – I don’t even need a modem and a router.

Don’t let these people who tell you they type too many text messages to mess with a touch screen (the keyboard works great too, by the way, but you probably figured as much by now) slow you down on your way to the Apple Store. And don’t worry about what this guy had to say; the data plan is included nowadays.

And no, I don’t secretly work for Apple, because if I did, I wouldn’t have another tab open trying to figure out how to jailbreak this thing so I can get all the apps I want for free.